BY SENZENI NCUBE
Youth for Innovation Trust (YIT) says young people must participate in legislative processes especially in the ongoing Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) bill public hearings, as they are the most used and affected during demonstrations.
The bill seeks to replace the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which was enacted in January 2002.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services sitting jointly with the thematic committee on Peace and Security has already started holding public hearings on the MOPO bill.
Today (Wednesday) they will be in Bulawayo at Iminyela Hall.
Speaking during a meeting that was attended by young people from different organisations in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Thando Gwinji, managing director of YIT said young people in civil society have been affected in their works by some of the country`s draconian laws.
“We want young people to be consulted about what goes on in consultative processes and legislative issues especially young people in civil society because POSA and AIPPA have been affecting how we conduct ourselves,” said Gwinji.
She said there was a need for young people to be educated on the importance of participating in legislative processes.
“We met different youths to try and map the way forward as young people have been lacking a zeal to participate in legislative processes, it is important to teach each other on these processes so that we raise fundamental issues towards the MOPO consultation processes,” said Gwinji.
The Bill has been criticised for being a replica of the notorious POSA which government used to clamp down on perceived enemies, especially members of the opposition and civil society actors.
Clause 16 of the bill gives the police the power to stop and search without a warrant, any person or vessel entering or leaving Zimbabwe. The police also have the power to seize anything where the search and seizure are reasonably believed to be in the interest of public safety, order or public health.
In terms of the Bill, the deployment of the army within the country`s borders to assist police can only be done by the President which is what section (s)213 of the Constitution dictates and the President must inform Parliament of such deployment, which is a requirement of s214 of the Constitution.